Georgia’s list of active Superfund sites has grown to 16.
On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency added the old Macon Naval Ordnance Plant to their National Priorities List of hazardous waste areas most in need of a clean-up.
The Pentagon started manufacturing ordnance and detonators at the site in South Macon at the start of World War II. A private company bought the site in 1960s, and at one point made seatbelts there. The EPA isn’t sure who is to blame yet, but they say the soil is rife with heavy metals, pesticides and cancer-causing PCBs.
The Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority owns the more than 400 acre area today — they’re trying to market it as an industrial park. The Superfund designation is a mixed blessing, said project manager Stephen Adams.
Federal involvement will help them get the problem fixed, but it also "shines a negative light on the property," he said.
"At the end of the day this is a good thing," Stephens added.
EPA officials will now develop a clean-up plan, said spokesperson Dawn Harris-Young. "We also have to do a potentially responsible party investigation, we are hoping to get those identified by the end of the year,” she said. The Pentagon and at least two private companies might have to help pay for the work if the EPA finds them responsible.
It could be years before actual clean-up begins, Harris-Young said.